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Uber rival Grab appoints Paytm exec as CTO of payments arm
Vikas Agarwal, CTO, GrabPay

Southeast Asian cab-hailing major Grab has appointed Vikas Agrawal as the chief technology officer of its mobile payments wing, GrabPay, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Agrawal is moving from Indian e-wallet firm Paytm, where he led the engineering division. He will be based in Bangalore.

Prior to Paytm, Agrawal— an IIM-Bangalore alumnus—was the founding member and CTO at Fashionara, an e-commerce startup. He also previously served as vice president of engineering at software solutions firm Tavant Technologies and as a technical architect at e-payments firm CyberCash.

“Vikas (Agrawal) has steered some of the world’s largest e-payments platforms through rapid growth, including during the critical time of 2016’s demonetisation of higher value banknotes in India. We believe Southeast Asia has the same potential for e-payments in the next 12 months,” said Theo Vassilakis, group CTO at Grab.

Grab claims to have had more than 3.5 million transactions daily and claims to be on track for 1 billion transactions per year. A year ago, Grab launched GrabPay Credits, its top-up service, and later released GrabRewards, a loyalty programme, for which it signed up more than 300 merchants. In Singapore, the platform recently launched its peer-to-peer payments services as well as in-store and in-restaurant payments services.

In July, it was reported that Grab was likely to raise $2.5 billion in a record fundraising round from its Chinese peer Didi Chuxing and Japanese Internet conglomerate SoftBank at a valuation of more than $6 billion. To support its rapid growth, Grab acquired Indonesian payment service Kudo earlier this year.

Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi, operates one of the largest transportation networks in Southeast Asia and is one of the most frequently used mobile platforms in the region with up to 1.5 million daily bookings, according to the company.

Grab was part of a global alliance formed by Didi Chuxing of China, Lyft of US and Ola in India against San Francisco-based rival Uber. The alliance allowed the customers of one firm to use the cab-hailing services of the other three through the same app.

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